We have been waiting for so long and now, the waiting seems to be coming to an end...not without a little more waiting, though!
We have been waiting for the call on a job that Jeff would really like to get hired for. He went to interview down in Florida early this week and as he left, they said they'd be in touch late in the week or early next week at the latest.
For the past two days, I have been on the edge of my seat....waiting....hoping....praying for the call, wondering just when it would happen! I actually got myself all worked up about it. I am not an anxious person by nature but I feel like I'm livin' on the edge of my seat here! In fact, one of my Facebook status' this week read: "I feel like I'm waiting for labor to start. It could happen at any time! Impatiently excited."
That statement pretty much sums up how I've been feeling all week. If you're a mom, you know what I'm talking about. You wait and wait until that 9th month, you wait for the due date, and then....it passes by. And you think, "Gosh, I could go at any time!" But you don't know when. You just have to wait. No control over it, no certainty for plans, and somehow, you end up with every expectation and no expectations all at the same time. (I really hope you can agree with me here and that I'm not the only one who has felt like this!)
As we (I) continued to wait, I felt doubt sneaking in. Jeff has been so positive, so certain that he will get this job. He truly feels that this is where the Lord wants him and he's going with it! His certainty is contagious, and yes, I would love to have my husband working for this type of company so I do want to believe he'll get chosen. But those nagging doubts started to fill my head over the past few days, telling me that this might be a cruel joke of some sort.
Can I tell you how thankful I am for a personal God who shook me in my flip-flops tonight and whispered right to my heart? He said,
"Kelly, I want the very best for you and Jeff. There is goodness in the waiting. I already know what the outcome is, and I'm already there. I've made a path for Jeff and it's a good one, no matter which job he will be in. I am there. Remember?"
And I stood there--in disbelief--that I would ever even begin to doubt, ever even remotely wonder that God's plan might not be the best for us! How could I so easily be shaken by those minuscule doubts when I stand on the ROCK, when I am a child of the I AM?
My heart whispered back.
"Oh. Yes. I do remember. You are God who loves me, who wants my family to prosper and not to be harmed. You plan good things for us, You have brought us down this road not for torture or to be teased but to be pruned, to be sharpened. You are with me and You go before me. You are my Hope. I remember now. Thank You."
So thankful, so very thankful tonight for a gentle, kindhearted Father who speaks to me even when I don't think He's listening.
The thing I like most about knowing God is knowing that He is not far from me. On any given day, in any given condition that I find myself in, He is there. Nothing is a surprise to Him! And though it may look like there isn't anything going on, the reality is that something is always going on. There is so much more going on than meets the eye.
Take Spring, for example. We all love it when the weather warms up, the birds start to sing, the trees start to bud. But, a few weeks or months before these events take place, the earth is a dark, cold, seemingly barren land. Frigid white snow covers the ground, drowning out any life below that might be brave enough to emerge too soon. The trees are naked, stripped down to the branch, not a sign of life on them. Usually, the sound of ice crunching under foot is the only sound of nature that can be heard.
At first glance, one would think that all is gone. It's over! Nothing is happening whatsoever.
But wait. The snow melts, revealing tiny blades of grass that get greener by the day. Trees start to welcome birds who've flown home from milder climates. They sing happily and delight us with their springtime melodies while tiny buds appear and will soon turn into fragrant, colorful blooms, and then wonderfully shading leaves. Flowers start to push up through the ground, looking for warmth, for light from the sun, which stays around a little longer each day.
This beauty was there all along, even when we couldn't see it. When it was hidden with the cold, when the darkness threatened to dim the last flicker of light remaining, new life sprung forth.
I liken this analogy to our current situation. Nothing has changed since my last post. Jeff still does not have a job; we continue to wait and trust. And hope.
On the days where I felt that nothing was happening, things weren't ever going to change, and life as I knew it was being snuffed out of me, there was still that last flicker of hope.
Hope of what may come--What may be just around the corner. Hope that I am not alone. Hope that there is something going on, even if I can't see it. Hope that beauty will come with our Spring.
If you know our family, you know that my husband lost his job last year. The scaling down of employees at his company came as a shock to us and though he didn't exactly love his job, it did provide an income.
After the realization that he was now unemployed sank in and we were able to regroup, we started to pray for direction and guidance in this new situation that we found ourselves in. Our immediate prayer was that God would bless Jeff with a job that would be a perfect fit for him. We didn't necessarily pray that it would be soon, but that it would be God ordained. He knew that we would move back to WNY only to face downsizing once again, and He knew what would follow. His Word says "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28) and we trusted that He had our best interests in mind. Over and over, I would repeat this verse in my head, reminding myself that though this is hard, good will come out of it.
Month after month, Jeff and I would wonder about the immediate future. Would we have enough money to meet our monthly bills, to feed our children, to get through the winter? We also wondered if maybe that perfect fit job would come and we wouldn't have to worry about those things for very long.
With each interview that my husband eagerly went on, our hope grew and we found ourselves thinking that maybe "this was it". We were mildly hopeful several times but inevitably, the company would choose someone who had several years' more experience.
It has now been 7.5 months and Jeff is still without a job, but not for lack of trying. I am so proud of him and how he has handled this challenge as the provider of our family. It's not easy for a man to be home all of the time. And it's not easy for his wife, either.
I have supported and encouraged in the best ways I know how. I've spent time praying, speaking words of truth and encouragement to my husband and finding comfort in God's Word. I have sent email after email, updating so that people will know how to pray for us. I have been patient.
And now, I am weary.
Lord, I trust You are with me, even when I can't feel it. I trust Your plan is good, even when I don't know it. Thank You that you are at the end of my rope. My hope is in You. Amen.
I've got a bunch of blog posts swimming in my head, but not enough hours in the day to capture them all. These two precious little boys God has entrusted to my care are keeping me busy and on my toes. My littlest one is still my sweet, patient boy, but shows his temper when I try to curb his exploring. In this week alone, I've pulled him off of the table or chairs more times than I can count, removed remnants of already chewed (and swallowed?) crayons from his mouth and discovered that he likes to pump the soap dispenser while walking around the house with it. His big brother is such an energetic one, always on the go and wanting to learn. He's got the creative genes for sure. Yesterday he decided that food coloring was a good idea. When he's not dying his skin, he's having fun pestering his brother and sets me on edge some days.
I daily count the thousands of gifts I'm surrounded by and have been spending lots of time contemplating how God's been working in my (our) life. There is so much goodness, so much to be thankful for.
My Works For Me Wednesday helpful tip is all about making homemade baby food.
Mmm, the good stuff.
You know the kind:
-no artificial ingredients!
Just honest to goodness pure, nutritional food for your little one!
This stuff is a cinch to make, and once s/he gets a taste of it, your baby will thank you!
Here we go:
1. Buy food of choice. Aside from mashing up banana, avocado and kiwi, I've pureed pears, peaches, apples (sauce), beans, peas, squash, pumpkin, spinach, chicken and pork. I prefer to use fresh food, but if you buy canned fruit, be sure to select the healthiest choice of fruit in juice, not sugary syrups.
The largest bowl for my food processor is a 16 cup capacity, so I used two 28 ounce cans of pears. It was mid-winter when I made this batch, so I opted for canned instead of fresh.
2. Put food in processor and add water if needed. If I have to cook the food before processing (most veggies, meat), then I reserve water from the cooking process and use that so that I can utilize the nutrients that end up in the water. In this case, the pears came with their own juice and so no water was needed.
3. Puree! Depending on the type of food you are pureeing, you may need to do it in small batches or stop and stir it halfway through.
4. Spoon out food into ice cube trays to be frozen. I don't care how cute and fancy the baby-gadget-makers make food storage. I'm not falling prey to their marketing schemes when I can buy an ice cube tray for $1.50 at the store and use it well after my kids have outgrown eating homemade baby food!
5. Freeze. Be sure ahead of time that you have a flat, clean space in your freezer to store these trays until they are completely frozen.
6. Store. I prefer large ziploc type bags, so that I can fit it into the freezer wherever I have room, however I need to! I like to label things, and the bag serves that purpose, too. I recommend labeling the food both for what it is and when you made it.
7. Take Pride! Buying jarred food isn't necessarily bad for our babies, but there is a sense of pride and accomplishment when we can prepare flavorful, nutritious foods for our children, knowing that the only thing in it is what it was intended to be, along with some homemade love.
Disclaimer: This is something that I enjoyed doing for both of my boys. It wasn't a chore for me, but I realize it may be for some. Please do not feel like a "bad mom" if you don't want to or cannot make your own baby food. If done with joy, it can bring great pleasure and satisfaction. If done with dread, it's not worth it. There are many ways we all can be the moms we want to be, and if this isn't one of them, don't sweat it!
Today I woke up feeling pretty good, despite the terrible cold we've all been fighting for a few days now. The sun was brightly shining-which is a rare occurrence in this part of the country during winter, and we all got a good night's rest. Don't you feel so good when you wake up feeling rested? I do.
Though I woke late and we had to shove breakfast down the boys' throats rush the boys morning routine, I was excited for a few things.
Today Jak was heading to school (he missed it on Tuesday), I was heading to my beloved bible study with dear friends, Jeff had an interview and I was picking up a rug that I got for a steal of a deal on Craigslist. I know, I know, you're thinking "why is she spending money when her husband is unemployed?" It's ok, it was some extra money that I earned, no, make that John earned, when he toy tested for Fisher-Price. Should I have saved it? Probably. But YOU go for months and months and months on a bare bones budget and tell me you're going to save that extra few bucks that you weren't counting on! Go ahead, try it! I bet you'll find something that you just have to have. :)
Ok, so I was feeling pretty good. The sunshine does wonderful things to my spirits. Driving down the road, my thoughts were consumed with how good life is.
Then I got to my bible study.
There, we were informed that one of our friends' sons was taken to the hospital for respiratory problems the day before. He is 15 months old. As we listened and talked about what she might be experiencing as a Mom, watching her little guy lay on the bed, sedated with a ventilator down his throat, my heart sank.
The doctors didn't know anything. Not what it was, how he got it, how long it'll be around, what will happen next. She has no time frame as to when he'll get better. She can't touch him because he responds to her and fights the sedation. How, tell me how, can a mother not touch the very son she gave life to as he lays before her? I cringe every time I think of that. I just cannot imagine...
We ended up skipping our study and focused on prayer for our friend, and figuring out how to help and serve her and her family during this time. They have 2 other little boys older than Michael that happened to get the stomach flu later that day. This was truly a family in need of God's healing touch.
When I gathered my boys from preschool (Jak) and playtime (John), we came home and settled in for lunch and naps. My thoughts haven't strayed far from Aimee and her family. My prayers are just a part of many that go before our Father on their behalf, the Healer extraordinaire. We trust that He knows what's going on, and will heal little Michael's body.
Today, I held my boys a little tighter. I held them a little longer. I gave thanks to God for their health, rather than taking it for granted. I kissed them more, I played with them more. I was reminded of the precious gift that life is, in every. single. moment.
The weight of the world was on my shoulders. Or so it felt. There was nothing that anyone could say or do, short of prayer, that could help make me feel better. It was just one of those days.
You know what I'm talking about.
Those days...those days where you can't see beyond right where you are at that moment. No light for the next step, no encouraging moment or word that helps to lessen the load. Nothing seemed to break me from the dreariness that wanted to overwhelm my soul. I was nearing the bottom of the pit.
I snuck down to the basement with the phone in my hand so that I could be alone. I was crying even before she said, "Hello?"
There is just something about a girlfriend who knows what you need even before you do, whether to be silent or speak, what to say or not to say, how to love on you even from 300 miles away. There is comfort in a companion like this.
I poured my soul out on her, and she didn't miss a beat. Comfort. I bared it all, beauty and ugly, all of it. No judging, no questions asked. Comfort. She prayed. Comfort.
As the night wore on and my spirits lifted a bit, I found the most comfort in this truth:
There is no pit so deep, that God is not deeper still.
He knows when we'll reach the end of our rope. And yet, He's already there!
He knows our needs. He's already got them covered.
He knows my fears. He speaks Truth to me despite them.
He knows Jeff's frustrations. He meets him and helps him.
He knows our hearts, better than we know ourselves.
God knew that Jeff would become unemployed. It doesn't worry Him. He's already got great plans for our next step. And even when I don't know what those plans look like, or when they'll come to fruition, I know that He is with me.
I am so excited to be writing again! It would seem that my best intentions fall to the wayside when it comes to my little corner of the Internet world. It's not that I don't want to write, on the contrary I do very much want to write!
But I haven't made the time.
I know, I know. I've said it before. However, I am really going to try to be intentional about this blog of mine. I love it so. And I love my readers (if you're still reading). I love your comments, I love your own blogs, I love love love the blog world and I want to be a part of it!
Writing is so very good for my soul and along with doing more of it this year, I'm praying about how God would use this gift he's given me for His purposes. I'm excited about the things I feel He may be placing on my heart!
I'm also excited about some other things that I'm tackling this year. Here's a very concise list:
1) Weight. Finally.
2) A consistent morning Quiet Time. Finally.
3) Regular prayer journaling.
4) Encouraging my husband more with my words.
6) Being more of a 'floor mom' with my kids.
7) Making time to write.
8) Doing things as they come, instead of letting them pile up. (An example might putting pictures in my frames...)
9) Meal Planning. Finally.
I'm sure I am forgetting a few things, but as you can see, many of my goals for 2010 (and the rest of my life) deal with self-control. Unfortunately, I lack much of it!
When I tell my son that he needs self-control, I realize that he isn't the only one. When he is quick to point the finger at someone else or when he can't reign in his emotions, I see myself.
When I look to food to fill me up, I see my need for it. When I look in the mirror, I see what lack of self-control has done. When I try to fill my self with things (literally or figuratively) to make me happy, I fail, and again I am faced with my desperate need for this important character quality.
I notice my lack of it when my words are quick with my husband. Before the last word hits my lips, I wince; it's too late. The pain sears my heart as I understand how much words can build or break a person and if only I had controlled my self and my tongue....
At the end of the day, it's not my lack of self-control that I notice most. I think we can all agree that we have to work on this, it's not a given. But what I do notice most as my head hits the pillow and I think over the days' ups and downs is my dire need of a Savior. I'm thankful that I can rely on Him to help me with these changes. They are big ones, ones that I want to make for a lifetime, ones that I want to instill in my children.
Well, there's my list with a little dose of honesty on the side. Here's to 2010! May it be one that teaches us all a bit more about our "selfs". :)